by Yael Adar
This is another very well known site. However, if you make it out to the Jezreel Valley area and have not seen the ruins at Beit Shean (especially recently) don’t miss it. Continue another 15 minutes or so to the Beit Shean Valley (which is really part of the Jordan Valley).
Beit Shean National Park houses some of Israel’s most spectacular archaeological finds. Many people visited the site when excavations first began in 1989, or shortly thereafter. The excavations here were completed in 1996. Be assured that if you visited here in one of the early seasons of excavations, you may not recognize the place. The site features a large amphitheater (with a capacity of about 7,000), a Byzantine era colonnaded street, ritual baths, a pottery workshop, a basilica, a Roman temple and much more.
Located on the banks of the Harod stream this city was first established in the fifth century BCE. It served as the military and administrative center of the Egyptian New Kingdom (between the 12th-16th centuries BCE) and is another one of the many sites that were destroyed in 732 BCE by Tiglath Pileser III, King of Assyria.
It was on the walls of Beit Shean that the Philistines hanged the bodies of King Saul and his sons after the crushing defeat on Mt. Gilboa.
If your visit to Israel is planned for the summer try to get here early or toward the end of the day as this area of the country is quite hot.
Directions: Beit Shean National Park is located within Beit Shean’s city limits (look for signs).
Visiting Hours: April-September: Sunday - Thursday & Saturday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Friday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. October-March: Sunday - Thursday & Saturday, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Friday 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Entry fees apply.